Without an agreement of some kind in Congress the tax cuts will expire for everyone. So, in a brutal sense, time is on Obama's side. Obama, the good poker player, must calmly wait for the Republicans to recover from their victory party hangovers and offer the Democrats a compromise worth considering. After all, this is a showdown he has known was coming for a long time.
Moreover, this is precisely the perfect time for the president to demonstrate the bottom line veto power of the presidency and play some whoever-blinks-first hardball politics. Either it's a meet-in-the-middle compromise about this dollars and good sense issue, or the time just expires.
Obama can't cave on this one -- scared money never wins. If the time runs out, let the GOP explain why it allowed taxes to go up for 98 percent of the people.